We’ve all been told that we have a guardian angel. You know how it goes, an angel that was chosen to look after you from the day you were born. A narrow miss of a car accident, well that was your guardian angel intervening. What you didn’t know is that there is someone else assigned to look after you too. If angels exist that means demons do as well. They don’t call themselves “guardian demons”, that’s just silly, but they are demons and their motivations are very different from their angelic counterpart. They’re the ones that cause bad things to happen. A green light suddenly turns red and you have to slam on the brakes to avoid a crash, oh that’s them just having some fun.
Neither angel or demon can control your lives, everyone has free will of course, but they can influence you. If cartoons have taught us one thing it’s that you have an angel and a devil on both of your shoulders; you’re picturing it right? It’s a mini version of you, the angel in a white robe with a glowing halo and wings who pleads for you to do the right thing and the devil, in all red with horns and a tail holding a pitchfork that persuades you to go off track. Not everyone believes in angels and demons, some people call this your conscience, or it’s your gut instinct.
Nevertheless, whether you chose to believe in angels and demons they exist, and both of them have agendas. The angel wants you to make good choices and be a good person. In the end you would go to Heaven and become an angel yourself, guiding a new life on their journey. The demon wants you to break laws, hurt someone, hurt yourself even. You’d be sent straight to Hell where you’d endure a lifetime of torture. That’s not entirely true, you could end the torture as long as you became a demon and influenced others to do harm.
You were lucky that you didn’t know the truth of the world. You were always questioning everything. Did you believe in God because you wanted to or because you grew up being told you have to? Did you believe in the pearly gates of Heaven because it sounds better than just ceasing to exist? Did you believe you should live a virtuous life just to avoid the fiery pits of Hell? You didn’t have the answers and you figured you never really would. You are just human after all.
There’s a lot that goes into being human, we’re talking more than paying your taxes. What it really means to be human is to feel. Emotions, those are what made life tough. Love is such a strong emotion. You wanted to love everything. You loved your family and friends. You smiled at animals on the street– dogs, cats, pigeons and squirrels, you loved them all. You loved the laughter of children. You loved how people united after a tragedy, lifting each other up and selflessly helping in any way. You love Disney and the fairy tale stories you grew up believing in. You love love.
Then there’s hate. Hate seems even stronger sometimes. People just get on your nerves. You hate that animals are abandoned and abused. Will someone shut that crying baby up?? You hate how people exploit others; chaos at a peace rally… yeah that’s a good one. You hate this world, everything is upside down. Racism, sexism, homophobia, dammit you could go on forever. People hurt each other all the time and you hate it.
Sometimes you even hate yourself. You hate your looks, always comparing yourself to someone else. You hate your job, always thinking you aren’t doing what you truly want. You hate your failed relationships, constantly thinking about what you did wrong and that if you just go back and do something different maybe it would have lasted. Real life isn’t a Disney movie though. You hate love.
You’ve thought about leaving this world, maybe not being here would be easier. You wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of whatever was going to happen. You thought about it and you cried, a lot. A lump catches in your throat as tears stream down your face. You let them drop, pooling under your chin before wiping them away. You can’t do it. Maybe it’s your guardian angel begging you not to, the angel on your shoulder jumping up and down telling you how much you’re loved and how much your life matters or maybe you’re just too scared. You don’t want to die but you don’t want to live either.
Your guardian angel sighs in relief, watching over you as you slept, so thankful that you’re alive. He loves you. He’s loved you since the day you were born. A new life coming into this great big world, a life he promised to guide and protect. He thinks about the time he was alive.
He was born many years ago on Independence Day, a fitting day for a man as patriotic and righteous as Steve Rogers. He was a scrawny kid but never backed down from a fight, especially if it meant standing up for what’s right. He eventually grew into his body, served his country, and gave his life for it in the war. He hangs his head low today with Nazis running around, again! He takes it in stride, devoting even more time guiding those to stand up to the injustice in the world.
Steve knows there’s goodness in you, and he knows that sometimes you stumble. You hurt yourself most being your own worst critic, constantly berating yourself for things you should have done. Steve tries to show you the goodness in life. A family of ducks waddle across the grass and you smile, that is until someone comes by with their large dog, purposely chasing after the now scattered family. You stop to watch a honeybee, dedicated in its task to pollinate the garden before you. Then you’re reminded of the worldwide devastation to the bees. Steve groans in frustration. Could your demon knock it off?
Your demon was just as frustrated. Steve was working so hard, encouraging you, no matter what the situation, to never back down. You stood up to people, to bullies. It was oddly familiar. Today the demon is smirking. You have plans to go clothes shopping with your friend Keisha. This is too easy for him.
“Come out Y/N. Let me see,” Keisha talks to you through the fitting room doors.
You stare at yourself in the mirror, the shirt you tried on was bunching on the sides. You tried pulling it down to cover the hips you hated but no, it doesn’t stay. It doesn’t fit right. Nothing fits right. Nothing ever does. Why are you like this? You feel the sting of tears rush to your eyes.
Taking a deep breath you pull it over your head, closing your eyes so don’t have to look at your reflection. You quickly put on your shirt and gather your things. Opening the door you see Keisha wearing the slight look of disappointment on her face.
“It didn’t fit,” you said quickly, hoping she would drop the subject.
“Everything in this store runs small, let’s try a different size.”
“Kei, the problem isn’t the clothes, it’s me. It’s this,” you gestured towards yourself.
She held back for a second, seeing the redness in your eyes, but continued anyway. She knew what she was about to say would make you cry as this has always been a sore subject, but she trusted her gut (or whatever she believed in) and said it anyway. “Y/N you’re beautiful, no matter what okay. You may not love your body but just know there is so much more to you. You’re beautiful inside and out.”
The tears fall as you wipe them off your cheek. You know she means well it’s just, all those bad thoughts you have are turned up to 1,000 when it comes to your body. She pulls you in for a tight hug. You smile, knowing she’s right. Your worth isn’t determined by your weight. You know this.
“Damn her,” the demon thought of Keisha. What can he do now? What can he do to turn your thoughts around?
Suddenly, a beautiful leggy brunette walks into the fitting room. She glances down at your tear stained face, you hear her laugh as she closes the door. No matter what you want to believe the truth is everyone is judged on their appearance. You quickly walk out of the dressing room, feeling defeated.
“Listen Y/N you don’t look like that chick, I don’t look like that chick, but despite what you think she’s not perfect. Nobody is.”
“I know, it’s just hard sometimes, you know?” You try to smile, forming a tight lipped frown instead.
“Yeah it’s hard, but life is short and you need to enjoy it. Winnie the Pooh wears a belly shirt and he doesn’t care.”
Her comment breaks your sullen face. “So you want me to be like Winnie the Pooh? Walking around with a jar of honey and no pants?” you joked.
“Winnie,” the demon hesitantly spoke, turning his head up as if he’s heard that name before.
“Yeah go hard or go home!” she laughed, pulling you in for another hug.
You stopped into Starbucks, to satisfy your need for overpriced coffee. Casually strolling through the mall you found some comfortable chairs to sit down in.
“So how come I haven’t met your girlfriend yet?” you asked, tilted your head and smiling as Keisha began to blush.
“I know, I know! Let’s plan something soon, dinner? Lunch? It doesn’t matter. She’s great Y/N. I can’t wait for you to meet her.”
You asked what her name was and she told you as she smiled from ear to ear.
The demon felt a twinge in his mind as the name was spoken. “Rebecca.” He repeated the name over and over, ignoring all of the things he could be doing to ruin your day. He knew this name. Why did he know this? Who was she? The thoughts clawed at his mind, like a caged animal trying to break free.
“Oh-em-gee, you have the cutest couple name, Bec-kei! Do you get it?” you laughed. You found it a lot funnier than Keisha did but she laughed all the same, being well accustomed to your silly sense of humor.
The demon froze, stunned in silence. The beast was loose, running around in his mind, violently thrashing as it broke down the walls of a dam. Memories returned, flowing, gushing through his mind.
“Bucky. My name is Bucky.”
If his heart could still skip a beat it certainly would have. You had unlocked the door in his mind that had been shut for so long. The memories overwhelmed him, bits and pieces of a puzzle scattered on the floor of his mind waiting to be put together. He started slowly with his name. Bucky. He repeated it over and over again, furrowing his brows together with frustration.
“There’s more. Bucky… urgh!” he huffed, pressing the heel of his palms into his eyes. He sounded out different letters until he thought he found the right one.
“G-George. No, James. James… Barnes. George was my father,” he said slowly connecting the pieces.
He pictured a man, with striking blue eyes and dark brown hair that peeked out from under a flat-topped straw hat. His cream buttoned down shirt was tucked into brown trousers, cuffed at the bottom to display his oxford shoes. Bucky smiled remembering his father, caring and selfless, who would always give up his last dollar to anyone that needed it. He was a hard working man who loved his wife Winifred. “Winnie, darling!” he would say, coming through the front door of their humble home.
George worked long hours as a banker but during the weekends he was a true family man. He took James and his younger sister Rebecca to the park. He watched James play baseball with some local boys, smiling at the nickname they gave his son as they eagerly called Bucky up to bat. Rebecca rode a merry-go-round, waving to her father each time her wooden horse passed the bench he sat on. He loved his family with all of heart. The accident that took his life was tragic, and Bucky never felt worthy enough to fill the large void left in its wake.
His country needed him during the war, there was no question but Bucky hated the idea of leaving his mother and sister. He wrote to them when he could during training and was lucky enough to receive their letters when he was overseas.
He slid down the wall, unseen by the humans that casually pass him by, as the horrors of the war replayed in his mind. Then he remembered the explosion on the cliffside and his biggest regret, living. He fell, hitting the snow covered ground with a huge thud. Every bone was surely broken, he groaned in agony and yet he felt numb. Hot tears stung his eyes as thought about his mom and Rebecca. He didn’t want to leave them, he was the man of the house, he needed to protect them. But there was nothing he could do except shut his eyes and wait for death to take him.
A blurred figure came towards him, calling out his name. A fellow soldier? No, it was an older man with a wrinkled face and dusty blond hair. “Bucky.” His smooth voice kept him from slipping out of consciousness. “Bucky, I’m here to help you.”
The man introduced himself as Alexander, Bucky’s spiritual guardian.
“My wh-what?” Bucky’s weak voice murmured.
Alexander offered to save him, heal him enough to go home so he can see his family as long as he promised to work with him as a guardian when the time comes. Confused and close to death Bucky accepted the man’s offer as his eyes shut.
Bucky woke up, groaning as his body bounced with every step the men who were carrying him on a stretcher took. “You’re lucky to be alive, soldier!” he heard a voice say before slipping unconscious again.
Sometime later he opened his eyes, recognizing he was in the medical tent of the barracks. He groaned feeling a terrible ache throughout his body, which was expected after his tremendous fall, except he felt different. His eyes widened with horror seeing the absence of his left arm. A medic heard the commotion and rushed over to him, explaining that his arm was lost from the explosion. He looked down to see a small stump wrapped in gauze, just a few inches remained of his once strong arm. His injury would be sending him home though as soon as the papers were processed.
Bucky reflected on his thoughts, vaguely remembering the man, his guardian, who promised him a chance to see his family again. He didn’t realize the cost, nevertheless he was happy, he served his country honorably and he was headed home with a smile on his face.
Winifred sobbed mixed tears of joy and sadness as her son walked through the door. She was prepared for his injury but it didn’t take away the pain she felt for her boy.
“Son!” she cried, sobbing into his chest. Bucky wrapped his right arm around her back, “Ma! It’s okay. I’m okay,” he said hoping his words would alleviate her woes.
Winifred took him into the kitchen, having prepared a casserole, after a long time away she needed to make sure her son was well fed again. Bucky missed her cooking, even with the restrictions from food rationing, she was always able to turn anything into a delicious filling meal.
She sat beside Bucky tending to his every need, refilling his glass before it was half empty, wiping food from the corner of his mouth. Bucky held his tongue, just because he lost an arm didn’t mean he couldn’t take care of himself, but he let his mother take care of him; she almost lost her son after all.
Rebecca came home a few hours later looking unrecognizable from the last time Bucky saw her. Her hair usually styled with intricate curls was covered in a dusty headscarf, her dress was traded for faded blue coveralls. She had taken up work in a local factory, like most of the women in the country who took over the job roles of the men who left to fight.
Her face lit up when she saw him, with a bittersweet smile tugging on her lips as she noticed the flat empty sleeve on the left side of his jacket.
She was happy to have him home, they were all happy to be together again.
Later that night after their mother had gone to sleep Bucky and Rebecca were able to speak frankly. His heart felt heavy, wiping tears away as he relived the terrible things the war required him to do. Bucky told her mostly everything, only sparing her from the gruesome details he did not want his little sister to imagine. He also left out the part of the man, Alexander, the supposed guardian that saved his life, though he was half convinced this was a hallucination.
Bucky pushed open the door of his bedroom and gasped, not expecting to see the figure standing there waiting for him. His jaw hung open as he stared at Alexander who was very much real. He was a few inches shorter than Bucky but stood with towering confidence. “Surprised to see me?” he asked.
Bucky nodded, unsure of what words to say as he tried to quickly accept the existence of his spiritual guardian.
“About the arm,” he nudged his chin towards Bucky, “it was the best way to get you home.”
Bucky cleared his throat before speaking, “Uh yeah, thanks, thank you. I’m just glad to be here.” He tripped on his words, smiling quickly before returning to his nonplussed state.
“How’s mom? She good?” Alexander asked with a curt undertone. Bucky nodded in response. “And sister?” A chill ran down Bucky’s back and he shivered before silently nodding again.
“That’s good. I’m sure you said goodbye then.”
Bucky’s face twisted in confusion, “I- I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Alexander’s lips pulled up into a wide devilish smile. “Our deal boy. The time has come.”
Bucky sputtered out words, trying to reason with that he’s been home for less than a week. Alexander didn’t care, though he never stated the full terms of his agreement Bucky never asked. He accepted his help and he was quickly learning that his actions had consequences.
“Kill yourself,” Alexander snarled, smirking.
Bucky felt disgusted by his words, he refused. He could never.
Alexander cocked his head, closing the gap between himself and Bucky. His smile dropped, “Your mother and sister are on a train right now,” he calmly stated.
Bucky shook his head, refuting the information he was told. “Becca is at work and Ma…”
“I’m a man of great influence and power,” he spat, popping the sound the word he took so much pleasure from. “They are on a train right now, sitting in the first car, and when I derail the train they’re going to die, unless…” he threatened.
Bucky felt nauseous, the thought of his family dying burned a deep pit within his stomach. “I thought you were my guardian angel,” he naively questioned.
Alexander dropped his head back and laughed with a twisted sense of delight. He turned towards Bucky revealing his eyes, now covered by a deep blackness that replaced any trace of humanity he once appeared to have. “I’m no angel.”
He raised his hands up and the furniture in Bucky’s room began to shake. The desk broke in half, with all objects once neatly displayed sliding towards the center, the dresser toppled over, photographs dropped from their place on the wall. Bucky jumped out of the way as his closet door opened, his clothes were violently strewn across the room. He could not believe what he was seeing.
Alexander looked at a mirror and it shattered, its jagged pieces fell to the ground in front of Bucky. “You know what to do.”
Bucky bent down, apprehensively picking up the shard of glass. His teary eyes pleaded with Alexander but he showed no signs of faltering.
“What happens if I do this?” his shaky voice asked. “Th-they’ll be safe? No tricks?”
“They won’t be harmed. I’m a man of my word. You do this and then you work for me. Go on son.”
Bucky shut his eyes not wanting to face Alexander. Son, the word stung in his mind. Bucky thought about his father, the honorable and good man. Would he do this? No, his father was a better man. He wouldn’t have made a deal with the devil. That’s what Alexander had to be. George would have seen through something that was too good to be true, he would have died with honor on that blanket of snow. All Bucky wanted was to see his family again, to protect them. Now he was left with a horrible choice and no way out. He had to save them, the family that would forever be plagued with unanswered questions. Why? Why did he do this?
Bucky choked on a lump in his throat as the tears traveled down his cheeks. He gripped the shard, feeling the sting of glass cutting into his hand. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, knowing the people who needed to hear his words never would. He brought the shard to his neck while Alexander watched.
Bucky woke up on the hard ground, looking around he saw nothing, just blackness that felt like it was slowly creeping towards him despite his vast surroundings. There was a cold chill that blew through him yet he choked on the air, heavy with humidity making it difficult to breathe. Wait, could he even breathe?
He was alone and scared. He sat bringing his knees to his chest, going through the motions of crying without being able to shed tears, as he regretted the choices he made from the life he’ll never get back. Alexander appeared in front of him, pulling Bucky to his feet.
“You work for me now,” he spat. “And my soldiers aren’t weak.”
“Soldiers?” Bucky questioned, “Alexander, I…”
He was cut off again. “You call me Pierce and I am not to be questioned. I’m not your friend. I own you. You’re gonna go up there and corrupt souls. Manipulate people, like I did to you,” he said with a sinister smile.
Bucky tried resisting at first, thinking since he was already dead that no more harm could come to him but he was wrong. Pierce brought in his trusted associate, a man formerly known as Brock Rumlow.
From an early age Rumlow had experimented on animals, cutting them open while they were alive, just to see what would happen. He became a surgeon, determined by his sickness to hurt people. It wasn’t enough for him to perform the operations he was required to do. He lied to his patients, telling them the extra procedures he performed were life saving and necessary. He found a like minded assistant, Grant Ward, and together they abused countless victims. Operating without anesthesia, they relished in the sounds of screams as they experimented removing body parts, or sewing foreign objects to the skin just to watch the wound fester with infection. The men were caught and executed but they continued their work as demons with Pierce’s full support.
Bucky had learned more about Pierce, the devil’s right hand man, a powerful demon who was building an army with plans to fight the angels in Heaven.
With the snap of his fingers Pierce made it possible for Bucky to experience pain again. Rumlow smiled as he began his torture. Minutes felt like years, years felt like centuries. Bucky had felt immeasurable amounts of pain. He tried not to scream knowing each time he did it only fueled Rumlow’s enthusiasm. He was carved with every tool imaginable, grinding his teeth as he felt the sting of each slice, only to have his body healed and prepped for the next round of torture.
Rumlow was fascinated by Bucky’s arm. He opened him up, removing what was left of his bone and replacing it with different objects. He settled on a metal arm, cast from the armor of a great demon, once a rogue knight who slayed countless villages during the Middle Ages.
Bucky knew how to end the torture, he held out for so long but he was weak, physically and mentally. He felt broken and so he conceded, accepting his fate. He hated himself for giving up. He carried out Pierce’s orders, being assigned to a variety of people all over the world; it didn’t matter who they were, only that they be influenced negatively to corrupt their souls.
One day Bucky was assigned to a new mother. He reluctantly went to the hospital with the intent on whispering thoughts to induce postpartum depression. He materialized in the hospital room, pushing past the flowers and balloons, not making himself known to the happy people who crowded around the woman. He stopped in shock as he saw his sister holding a baby swaddled in blue cloth.
“James, after my brother,” Rebecca said. “James Barnes-Proctor.” She wiped tears away as she smiled lovingly at her son. Bucky stood there in shock, seeing his sister and the man he assumed was her husband caressing the forehead of the sleeping infant. He scanned the room for his mother but she wasn’t there. He wanted to stay, to talk to Rebecca and tell her everything but he knew he couldn’t.
He left feeling determined, feeling strong like the man he should have been. He refused to do this any longer, resolving that he would rather be tortured for eternity than hurt anyone else. Pierce blinked a few times, silent in response to Bucky’s defiance. He simply smiled, snapping his fingers as a cloud of black smoke wrapped itself around Bucky. He struggled against the force of energy but wasn’t able to break free. The black cloud entered through his ears and fogged up his mind. Pierce locked away Bucky’s memories, wiping him to create the perfect demon, brainwashing him into fighting for his cause without disobedience. A soldier once again, ready for orders.
Bucky struggled to lift his heavy head, weighed down by all of his memories, guilt and pain. He wiped away fresh tears as he looked around. You had left, a while ago it seemed. Bucky wanted to find you. He wanted to undo some of the damage he’s done. Thanks to you he remembered who he was, he needed to do some good for a lot of people but he wanted to start with you. He tasted the salt on his lips before realizing the unfamiliar sense. How was he able to cry?
His thoughts were interrupted by the image of Pierce calling him back. Bucky wiped his eyes again, bringing his expression back to something neutral as he faced Pierce.
Bucky was silent for a moment before repeating the list of horrible things he’s done in order to break people. He kept up his facade as the ruthless soldier Pierce had created, not letting on that he had broken free of his spell for his own safety and yours.
“I see Mr. Wilson has been teetering on the edge. Use his guilt about his friend,” Pierce ordered. Bucky fought back his anger. He was angry with Pierce for forcing him to be someone he’s not, he was angry with himself for doing such terrible things to innocent people.
“Good job with Y/N, sending that other girl into the dressing room. How close is she? How broken?”
Bucky clenched his fist, biting the inside of his cheek as Pierce spoke about you with such indifference. He wasn’t going to let you become broken. He vowed to make up for the pain he caused you.
“She’s strong,” Bucky said, unable to hold back a smirk.
You were strong, you made it past every negative thought and situation Bucky aided in putting you through but you still made it. You never gave in and Bucky was going to make sure that you never would.
“We need strong. Work harder on her, bring her to us,” Pierce demanded.
Bucky nodded and Pierce dismissed him.
Back on Earth Bucky watched you again, just as he had done many times before but this time it’s different. Instead of scheming for ways to enhance your depressing thoughts he watched you, and for the first time he truly saw you.
The partially clouded sun shines its diffused light on the alleyway of your apartment building. With a tote bag in hand you softly creep towards the back wall, pursing your lips together to create soft kissing sounds. Opening your bag you pull out a few cans of cat food, the noise of the lid pulling open draws out the strays you’ve come to look after.
A large black cat comes out, curling himself around your legs before nudging his head on your hand, a sign you’ve learned to interpret as “hurry up and feed me.”
“Okay okay, Midnight here you go,” you said setting down the food.
Opening another can a smaller cat comes out, a slim black and white you’ve named Oreo. Leaving the cats to their food you opened another can, setting it behind the dumpster in front of a very lazy and round white and brown cat you’ve aptly named Potato. Based on his size you question if Potato is even a stray. You retrieve a few plastic takeout containers that have moved around, replacing it them with fresh water and dry cat food.
With your back against the brick wall of the building you happily watch the cats eat. Bucky feels a painful stinging sensation overtake his body, his fists clench as he fights his instinct that compels him to remind you that these cats are homeless. Instead he silently watches as Oreo curls up next to you, purring and meowing as you scratch under her chin.
Bucky feels a tight pull in his cheeks from a smile that formed. It’s such a foreign sensation it hurts but he continues doing it, reminding the neglected muscles of their use. He continues smiling, grinning now from ear to ear as you tease Potato for being too lazy to come out.
The longer Bucky watches you he begins to remember what it was like to be human. He’s overcome by warmth that comforts his normally cold exterior. You’re beautiful. He doesn’t know why you ever doubted yourself, he hates that he amplified any negative thoughts. Your eyes are full of kindness, your smile is so sincere. Your body was perfect in his mind because it was yours. Bucky felt this overwhelming desire to hold you, to wrap his arms around you and tell you that despite what you believe that you’re beautiful and every flaw you think you have is part of what makes you so beautiful. You were a goddess and he wanted to worship you.
Lost in his thoughts Bucky hadn’t noticed that Midnight had walked over towards him, curling in between his legs. Bucky yelped scaring the black cat as he ran back behind the dumpster.
“Hello?” you said, standing up.
Bucky stood frozen, wondering how the cat was able to curl around him. Midnight must have run away with his tongue as well because Bucky was unable to speak as you approached him. How could you see him?
“Uh, hi can I help you?” you sarcastically asked, waving your hand in front of his face.
Bucky realized his concealment spell had obviously lifted. He cleared his throat, unsure of what he was going to say. “That’s really nice… what you’re doing for them… the cats,” he awkwardly stammered.
“Oh, yeah. Well I have to,” you said smiling as you notice the stranger’s handsome face. “No one else looks after them so…” You shrugged slightly before looking away, feeling the blush begin to creep its way on your cheeks as the stranger’s clear blue eyes were gazing at you.
Bucky was entranced by you, silently staring with a goofy smile, unaware of how awkward he looked.
“So do you always hang out in alleys or…” you trailed off.
“No, I uh,” Bucky stopped to think about what he would say, reaching his hand up to rub the back of his neck. “I was just walking by when I heard someone.”
You smiled, watching his nervous demeanor, his plush pink lips curved up into a smile. A feeling twinged in your gut unlike anything you had felt before. You were alone with a strange man in an alley but you weren’t nervous. Why weren’t you nervous? You should be, right? Your body seemed to be fighting the natural instincts that were telling you this was dangerous.
“What’s your name?” you asked.
“Bucky,” he yelped, jumping slightly as Midnight returned and began to purr around the base of his legs. You laughed at his reaction.
“Scared of cats Bucky?”
He chuckled, wiping the embarrassment off his face, “No, I’m just not used to this.” He flashed a bright white smile as he slowly crouched towards the ground, letting his right hand hang down. Midnight pressed the top of his head into his palm, rubbing into it and purring. “They usually don’t like me.”
Bucky felt the soft fur against his finger tips, a sensation he’s almost forgotten. Normally animals hissed or barked, and ran away when they sensed the presence of a demon. He ponders why the cats are being so calm around him.
You watched as Bucky pet Midnight with a sweet innocence. He looked up at you, seemingly proud of himself for petting a cat. You’re not sure why he’s so happy but you smile finding it very cute.
“Do you live around here Bucky?” you asked.
“Uhhhmmm,” his voice sung, “no,” he chuckled. Cocking your head to the side in curiosity you waited for him to continue. “I’m from Brooklyn,” he answered, standing up after Midnight had his fill of affection.
He shrugged his hand back into the pocket of his leather jacket and you suddenly realized his left hand has been in his pocket during your whole encounter. You worry slightly for the first time, wondering what he may be hiding.
“What’s with the hand?” you questioned in a ruder tone than you had originally intended.
Bucky’s face dropped, eyebrows tilting down and you heard him gulp loudly. His head hung low as he replied, “Y-you don’t want to see.”
You were concerned but intrigued, “Please?”
He sighed, looking up at you through his long lashes as he gingerly pulled his hand out of concealment, revealing a shiny silver surface. You stared at the remarkable appendage before you caught yourself, realizing how uncomfortable you were making him. “I’m sorry Bucky, I didn’t mean to stare,” though you couldn’t help the fact that your gaze darted between his sad eyes and the metal hand. “I’ve just never seen a prosthetic like that before.”
“I’m not used to showing it.” His head hung low still and it reinforced your feelings of regret.
“I’m sorry,” you repeated, in a gentle tone. “Do you want to get coffee?”
Bucky looked up in confusion, not understanding why you haven’t run away from him.
“Please, let me buy you a cup, okay?” Bucky couldn’t say no to your bright-eyed insistence, he smiled and agreed.
“Great!” you exclaimed. Turning around you went to gather your things and say goodbye to the cats. You went to Potato, rubbing the soft fur of his plump body, Oreo and Midnight fought for your attention which you gave as equally as you could.
Picking up your bag you took a step towards Bucky but you were blasted with a strong surge of wind. You squinted, lifting your hands in front of your face. The gust was so powerful your feet slid on the ground as you were being pushed back.
Bucky moved forward, reaching out to grab and pull you towards him. The moment your hand touched his the wind abruptly stopped but your momentum was still going; you went flying into Bucky’s chest and you both fell down. Bucky wrapped his arms around you holding you tighter to him as he took the brunt of the fall.
You looked down at him, wisps of your hair fell forward as you were a few inches away from his mesmerizing blue eyes. Bucky grunted and you snapped back to reality. “Sorry! I know I’m heavy,” you sadly declared.
Hearing your admission on the topic he knows bothers you most pained him. “No Y/N, you’re not. Y-you’re beautiful.” Bucky tucked your hair behind your ears and your heart raced a little. “You okay?” you panted as you got off of him.
“Yeah I’m fine,” he said as he stood up, brushing off any dirt that might have been on his clothes
“That was so weird! I’ve never been caught in a wind tunnel like that before!” you naively commented.
“Yeah, pretty weird,” he stated as his eyes looked up and all around in suspicion, knowing the exact cause of the sudden weather change.
On the way to the coffee shop you faced many interruptions. Your mom called and it took forever to get her off the phone, despite promising that you’ll call her later. Keisha texted way too many times about wanting to set up dinner with you to meet her girlfriend. Your boss Tony called in a desperate search for a file that was in your office. He even offered to pay you for a half day if you came in to look for the file. Despite how enticing that sounded you really wanted to spend your afternoon with Bucky.
“Tony it’s Sunday I’m not coming in. Are you at my desk? Look at my desk, now look at the rack on the left. It’s right there.” You looked at Bucky and mouthed an apology as you waited on the phone again. “You found it, see it didn’t move. Okay… okay… no I really have to… alright, tomorrow, okay… okay see you tomorrow Mr. Stark bye!” You hung up on him but tried your best to not make it feel as if you did. Why was everyone bothering you?
“I’m so sorry about that Bucky, I swear I’m never this popular,” you joked.
You sat down and ordered. “Have you been here before?” Bucky shook his head no. “They have the best coffee and the most amazing desserts. You’re gonna love the chocolate croissants.”
You were so excited about the food Bucky felt almost bad. For obvious reasons he could not tell you that he isn’t able to taste anything.
He let you take the lead in the conversations. He loved the way you spoke, you were so passionate about everything, even little things. He screamed at himself internally for every time he previously tried to diminish the beautiful light inside of you.
When asked to talk about himself he chose his words carefully, trying not to reveal any information that would incriminate him as a man out of time (or a demon for that matter).
“So that’s how you lost your arm? The war?” you inquired.
With a heavy sigh Bucky replied, “Yeah but I really don’t want to talk about it.”
You reached out to touch his flesh hand to console him, “I understand Bucky. My cousin was in Afghanistan, he doesn’t like to talk about it either.” Bucky thanked you as he sipped the tasteless liquid.
The conversation continued to flow and Bucky enjoyed every moment he spent with you. He never wanted to leave, just being with you made him feel almost human again.
Bucky insisted on walking you back to your apartment. You casually strolled next to him with a smile on your face, sensing the way he looked at you when he thought you didn’t notice. Bucky was incredibly handsome and kind, but also mysterious and sad. Maybe that’s what attracted him to you, you’ve always had a penchant for those in need.
A young man barreling down the sidewalk on a bicycle nearly misses hitting you as you separate from Bucky with your back up against the gate of a closed shop.
“Are you alright Y/N?” Bucky asked, as you heard the frustration in his tone.
“What is with people today?” you groaned.
Bucky offered you his hand before pulling it back, realizing it was his metal one. You reached your hand out to him, nodding in acceptance and he delicately laced the cool smooth digits with your warm soft hand. You looked up at him with a reassuring smile as you continued walking.
When you reached the front door of your building you asked for Bucky’s number. He stammered a bit and struggled to make up a legitimate excuse for not having a cell phone.
“I’m old fashioned,” he attempted to reason.
There it was, that feeling of rejection. What a stupid excuse, who doesn’t have a cell phone? You dropped your head, trying to hold back the tears you felt forming. This is the story of your life, falling for a guy way out of your league who will never be interested in you.
“Oh okay it was nice meeting you,” you said quickly, turning on your heel and up the steps.
“Wait!” Bucky followed you. “I want to see you again.”
“Really?” You couldn’t help how desperate you sounded.
“Yes of course Y/N. How about tomorrow? We could go to lunch or dinner or…”
“Dinner,” you chimed in. “Dinner would be great.”
Bucky suggested meeting at your apartment first and you excitedly nodded your head.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Y/N,” he said, taking your hand in his and bringing it up to his soft lips for a kiss. You held your breath, in shock at his reserved but romantic gesture.
“See you tomorrow Bucky,” you beamed, waving once more after you stepped inside the lobby.
You immediately pulled out your phone, texting Keisha about the man you met as you routinely walked to your door. Picking your head up you spotted a figure standing in front of your door, a tall and broad blond man with a stern expression.
“Y/N, we need to talk.”